Less than one percent of athletes make it to the major leagues. Chris Carter, nick named “The Animal,” lived that dream, even rocking four home runs in the big leagues. Since retiring, though, he has focused on making a different kind of impact in today’s digital world of sports.
Carter played for Stanford University with a team that made back-to-back appearances in the College World Series, graduating in just three years with a degree in human biology. In a 2010 profile, the Wall Street Journal called Carter “Baseball’s Best Biologist.”
In 2004, caught the eye of an area scout when he had a home run and an RBI walk in an exhibition game with a Japanese University. After continuing to impress the rest of the season, he was drafted in the 19th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks, getting him one step closer to his dream.
“It was a dream of mine to go Stanford and play Major League Baseball,” says Carter. “I also knew how difficult it would be to get to play in college and beyond.”
When Chris was young, he remembers dedicating countless hours of free time to practicing baseball. At age thirteen, he would spend 15 hours a week either playing baseball with kids in the neighborhood, throwing a ball against a wall, or hitting off of a tee. “It was not a job but something that was fun and helped me get closer to what I wanted to do in the future.”
Carter bounced around organizations before making his big-league debut in 2008 for the Boston Red Sox. Life in the big leagues changes quickly, and Carter was shipped to the New York Mets in a trade for Billy Wagner one year later. Carter says he was never a top prospect and credits his work ethic and dedication to achieve his goals. He would come to the fields two hours early just to get extra practice, and one day his manager in New York, Jerry Manuel, gave him the nickname “The Animal.”
“It’s been with me ever since,” Carter says.
After 10 years in professional baseball and playing in the Japanese big leagues, Carter hung up the cleats and shifted to life after pro baseball.
“It’s a paradigm shift from playing a game in front of thousands, to conference calls and corporate America,” Carter says. “However, today I work to help organizations transform digitally with a platform that has a huge impact on people’s lives.”
Jean Marie Richardson, president of iFolio, recruited Chris to head up iFOLIO Sports, which equips organizations with a digital platform that opens opportunities through digital engagement, viewer tracking, maximized marketing ROI, and analytics.
Through personal experience, Carter knows how difficult it is to make it to a Division-I baseball program, let alone the major leagues. Now he helps organizations innovate with a digital platform that provides players and coaches options for the full picture for more opportunities in sports and academics.
“For me, iFolio was a transition from being in the game to transforming the organizations that facilitate the game. In turn I get to help organization’s athletes get their chance for their dreams with a digital edge in a world that is incredibly competitive,” Carter says. “It’s a great fit for me.”
iFolio has grown exponentially as organizations and enterprises adopt the platform and the software-as-a-service model. It serves customers across the United States including iDTech, The Museum School, and EJ Sports and even users across five countries. Seeing the platform develop further with feedback from customers is something Carter takes pride in.
Carter’s own path has been an adventure from college baseball, pre-med, the big leagues, and now a businessman. Carter says, “I would do it all over again and believe I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.”
You can follow Chris on Twitter @carter_animal.